As human beings we have different needs and aspirations in life. We often do things in order to fulfill a certain desire and many a times it is the desire for success which keeps us on track to achieve our goals. In this post we take on ten such desires as specified by Hugh Mackay in his book ‘What Makes Us Tick? The 10 Desires That Drive Us’.
Desire 1: To belong
We love to meet, to talk, work, eat and drink. We are social creatures. No one wants to be left out. I remember back in high school I would float from group to group not really knowing where I fit in. Sometimes I would go to the library where the geeks and the loners hang out. That was the only place where I felt a sense of belonging. I would play Yu-Gi-Uh cards with the kids that were two years younger than me. I believe what brought us together was a shared interest in Yu-Gi-Uh. Today I feel a sense of belonging when I hang out with unicyclists and entrepreneurs because we have a shared interest that brings us together. As the saying goes birds of a feather, flock together.
Desire 2: For my place
We all have a place where we feel comfortable and have an emotional connection. For me it’s my hometown back in the Barossa Valley where I grew up. I have countless memories that took place there. I know the town like the back of my hand. People don’t like it when their place is taken away from them. I remember when there were plans to put a McDonald’s in our hometown and the local community went berserk. Locals were concerned about it ruining the cultural heritage. So what’s your place? A treehouse? Your car? Maybe your home country?
Desire 3: For something to believe in
So conspiracy theories excite us like no other because they seem to provide something to believe in that transcends traditional explanations of extraordinary events such as UFOs, fake moon landings and even Bigfoot. It’s much more exciting to believe that Bigfoot exists regardless of any real evidence. Our own beliefs are intimate and precious to us. That’s why it’s hardly surprising that other people with different beliefs find our own beliefs to be ridiculous or threatening. But they need their’s just as much as we need ours.
Desire 4: To connect
We want to connect with ourselves, with each other and with nature. To be connected is to be free. We don’t want to feel alone. We want to feel our existence on earth matters. I have a desire to develop myself as a person. I have a desire to connect with you guys to positively impact your lives with my videos.
Desire 5: To be useful
This is perhaps the most common one I see. Many of us want to show that we’ve made a contribution. Look at the masses of people that go to help out when a natural disaster occurs. In my own experience I have noticed this desire to be much stronger in females. My mum and my girlfriend are just two of many examples. My girlfriend asks me probably 650 times a day whether I want her to cook me some cupcakes, bring me some water or make me a cup of tea. She seems to get a massive kick out of it. So sometimes I just say yes even if I’m not particularly craving a cup of tea.
Desire 6: To be taken seriously
Everyone wants to be acknowledged, loved, accepted, appreciated and understood. This desire is universal but the intensity depends on the individual. We like to be taken seriously in different ways. It could be a word of encouragement for one person or constant praise for another. This desire may explain why the world is in love with dogs. I mean dogs offer love, acceptance and affection no matter what mood you’re in. This desire drives the law of reciprocity. The way we treat people is likely the way they’ll treat people in the future. So we must learn that if we don’t take others seriously they won’t take us seriously either. It’s as simple as that. This is closely related to the Hawthorne effect. People are more likely to engage with us if we first take them seriously by engaging with them.
Desire 7: For more
I remember spending 12 hours a day playing an online video game called Runescape. That shit was addictive. I was hooked with a desire for more. A desire to cut more virtual trees and some more virtual logs for more virtual money. Now there’s a reason I write down three things I’m grateful for every morning. If we can’t be grateful for what we have now, we’ll never be grateful for what we have in the future. This countless stories of millionaires striving to get more and more money and at the end of it all, they’re unhappy. Their outrageous desire for more made them forget to appreciate what they already had.
Desire 8: For control
You know when you’re trying to show your parents how to log into their Facebook account and all you want to do is stick a needle in your eye as your hands tingle with fury. All you want them to do is relinquish control of the bloody mouse so you can take over and show them how it’s done. Trump wants to control the world, Facebook wants to control what you see on your newsfeed and I just want to be in control of my own computer mouse. Ultimately the only thing we can control is our own behavior.
Desire 9: For something to happen
Let me show you this desire in action. See what I mean. You are waiting for something to happen, weren’t you? This explains why floods of people flock to buy lottery tickets despite having a 1 in 8.145060 million chance of winning. It’s also why video games like candy crush are so addicting. It keeps us coming back for that dopamine rush. It’s essentially a game of luck and the reward comes to us at unexpected times just like a slot machine. Marketers understand this human desire and use it to their advantage.
Desire 10: For love
Sophocles said “One word frees us from all the weight and pain of life. That word is love.” Love is the deepest of all desires. It’s our richest source of emotional security, personal security and confidence. It’s perhaps the greatest contribution we can bring to a better world.
The author Hugh Mackay is a social psychologist and wrote this book to increase our understanding of why we do the things we do and to encourage the idea that an important part of the art of living lies in learning how to manage, harmonize and balance the demands of our competing desires. I hope my unique perspective on Mackay’s book inspires you to create positive change in your life.
Image source: Google Images
Also published on Medium.